Far-right Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) took to the House floor Monday to threaten a possible vote “coming today or later this week” on a motion to vacate House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
Accusing McCarthy of having struck a “secret side deal” with President Biden and House Democrats to continue to fund Ukraine in its war against Russia, Gaetz said that “for all the crocodile tears about what may happen later this week about a motion to vacate, working with the Democrats is a yellow brick road that has been paved by Speaker McCarthy.”
The Florida Rep. further added, “It is going to be difficult for my Republican friends to keep calling President Biden ‘feeble’ while he continues to take Speaker McCarthy’s lunch money at every negotiation.”
McCarthy did not answer directly when reporters asked him about Gaetz’s accusation of cutting a secret deal on Ukraine.
A motion to vacate is essentially calling for a “no confidence” vote against the House Speaker to have him or her ousted. There’s never been a successful vote to oust a House Speaker in the history of the U.S. Congress.
However, a concession McCarthy made to far-right House members like Gaetz in January to secure the Speakership now allows just one Representative to make a motion to vacate the chair. Before McCarthy, a motion to vacate required a majority vote from members of the Speaker’s party.
In order to secure a majority House vote to temporarily keep the government funded and avoid a government shutdown deadline at midnight Saturday, McCarthy early in the day introduced a “clean” 45-day stopgap spending bill that omitted politically charged issues like Ukraine aid as well as U.S.-Mexico border security.
That bill passed in the House after receiving more votes from Democrats than Republicans, then passed in the Democratic-led Senate 88-9, averting the shutdown though another deadline is now looming in mid-November.
“This is swampy log-rolling. The American people deserve single-subject bills,” Gaetz said Monday of deals McCarthy has made to avoid defaulting on our nation’s debt, the stopgap resolution Saturday “or now this secret deal on Ukraine.”
The “spirit of the January agreement we made with the Speaker,” Gaetz added, was “no more lashing these disparate issues together so that the American people’s interests are subjugated here on the floor of the House.”
Gaetz concluded his floor speech by saying, “Members of the Republican party might vote differently on a motion to vacate if they heard what the Speaker had to share with us about his secret side deal with Joe Biden on Ukraine. I’ll be listening. Stay tuned.”
While Gaetz has not said whom he’d like to see replace McCarthy as Speaker, he repeated to reporters on Monday an assertion he made Sunday that it would be unfair to speculate while the House’s second-highest-ranking Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, is being treated for blood cancer.